Harthur Grai

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Harthur
Harthur.jpg
Race Half-orc
Gender Male
Character Class Ranger/Death knight
Patron Deity The Nightbringer
Status Undead
Alignment Chaotic Neutral

Harthur is a half-orc ranger, and a member of the Challengers of the Unspeakable.

History

Early Life

Harthur Grai grew up in a small orc village located in the bitter cold mountain ranges. His was not a pleasant childhood. Harthur was raised as an orphan of the tribe. It was neither love nor pity that caused the full-blooded orcs to accept him. In fact, he was never accepted. From the time he understood insults he knew they were always directed at him. One warrior in particular, the captain of the tribe's forces, never missed a chance to mock Harthur's parents. The captain frequently boasted how he had killed Harthur's parents for being weaklings.

Harthur was forced to do whatever tasks were demanded of him. These ranged from menial chores to combat. Like all other tasks, Harthur's combat training was forced upon him. Refusal of any kind would mean certain death.

The only personal item Harthur owned was a simple copper pendant bearing a single opal stone. He was told that it originally belonged to the last full-blooded human in his bloodline. The orcs of the tribe viewed the the pendant as tainted, a sign of the weakness of humans. That was the only reason Harthur was permitted to carry it: to remind him of his low status. It was also the reason no one bothered to steal it from him.

He had no friends in the tribe, save one. Harthur was not the only half-orc in the village. The other was a male a few years older. They were not allowed to socialize in whatever free time they were given, but they were often made to work on the same tasks. When they were allowed to work together, they were often supervised by one another orc in order to make sure that they didn't stray from their duties. One day, the captain and his men returned to the village covered in blood, human blood. They had ransacked a nearby village, killing many and taking whatever pleased them. This was not entirely uncommon. However, one of the humans they killed was a distant relative of a lord up the river. When he heard the news he demanded retribution. Rather than fight, the captain laid blame on Harthur's friend, who was promised a long life of torture if he denied the claims. A small force of humans came to escort him to pay for the crimes he did not commit.

Harthur snuck away to follow the party in an attempt to rescue his friend. He knew there would be no going back, but figured he and his friend could survive on their own. As night approached and the party began to make camp for the night, Harthur approached. He crept to his friend and began to loosen the ropes that were used to bind him. As he did so, one of the humans heard him and called to the others for help. In a panic, Harthur threw his knife and struck the man dead. Hearing the screams, the remaining members of the party rushed to stop their prisoner from escaping. Harthur and his friend began to make their escape through the woods when the humans began firing arrows at them. Harthur was hit the shoulder but continued to press on. Before they could make it another 20 feet, his friend was struck in the leg and fell to the ground. Harthur helped him to his feet in order to continue the escape. It was then that another arrow struck his friend, this time in the chest. Before Harthur could shield his friend, two more arrows finished the task and his friend fell lifeless from his arms.

Harthur was now free to run. He did not. Seeing his only friend dead on the ground, he became filled with rage. He picked up a stone and hurled it at one of the archers, momentarily knocking him down. He charged at the human clutching a small ax. The ax struck him in the arm, but he tackled the man and began to bludgeon him. The ax was dropped as life drained from the man. Harthur was now armed. He quickly turned on the archer and split his head open. The last two members of the human party were approaching now. Using the archer as a shield, he protected himself from the last volley of arrows he allowed the humans to fire. The second archer fell when Harthur threw the ax into his chest. The last man began to run, but Harthur quickly overcame him. He tried to beg for his life as Harthur's hands began to wrap around his neck. The cries fell on ears deafened by rage and bloodlust.

With a band of humans dead by his hands, Harthur began to wander toward the only place he knew: home. If nothing else, the captain would pay for betraying his only friend, for causing his death. It was several hours past dawn when passed out on the floor of the forest, from exhaustion and loss of blood. When he awoke, it was once again nearing evening. His body was still in terrible shape from the previous day's battle, but his desire for vengeance pushed him on. Though the sun was setting behind him, he saw a red glow ahead. His village was under attack.

As he stepped into the open outside his village, he heard a young man scream. He pointed at Harthur, claiming he was the one who had killed the lord's men. It seemed as though not all of the men were brave enough to chase the half-orcs through the woods. A fortunate coward. Harthur quickly ran into the village. The confusion of battle would allow him to find his target without much notice. He spotted the captain locked in battle with a heavily-armored man. Despite his protection, he was no match for the captain. The captain knocked him to his feet with a massive hammer and approached for the killing blow. Seeing this chance, Harthur grabbed a sword from one of the fallen orcs and carefully approached the captain. As the captain raised his hammer high crush the man beneath him, Harthur plunged the sword through his back and out his chest. The captain was dead before he could turn to see who was behind him. The armored man began to thank Harthur, but was soon stopped as Harthur slid the sword through the man's neck. Having found his revenge, Harthur simply walked back into the forest never to see his village again.

Harthur remained in the forest, living off the animals and natural vegetation. He spent his days honing his skills and learning the land. He continued this way of life for a number of years until he encountered a wagon on the road to town. The people were few, weak, and poor. They had been forced from their farm by a gang. Having no way to defend themselves, they were travelling to meet their cousin who ran a bar in the nearby town. Even with their cousin's help, they would not be able to survive for long. Seeing Harthur and his weapons, they begged for his assistance. They would give anything to have their farm back. Harthur felt some pity for them and recognized a good chance help them take revenge against those who had robbed them of their livelihood. He agreed to help them. They would meet him at their cousin's bar once the job was done with whatever payment they could afford.

The gang was little more than a few men with rusty swords. The farmers could not stand against them, but they were nothing to Harthur. The battle, such as it was, was over quickly. The men had no idea how to fight against a real opponent. Searching through the bodies, Harthur managed to only find a few copper. He gathered their weapons as proof of his victory and to sell for whatever the blacksmith might offer. Upon meeting the farmers at the bar, he was met with a warm welcome. He did not care for the thanks, but their cousin did offer him a few silver and all of the ale he could drink.

News of his actions spread through the bar and before the night was through he had received numerous offers for more mercenary work. He accepted all that he could take on his own. By the end of the summer, he was a well-known mercenary within the town and had a fine collection of weapons and armor. However, the offers soon began to slow and his income was beginning to stagnate. Several patrons of the bar told Harthur that he should travel to one of the larger cities to find more work. He might even be able to find others to work with to seek even more opportunities.